How to prepare titanium and titanium alloys


Struers three-step method is the most effective way to prepare titanium alloys, regardless of the characteristics of the alloy, as this method provides the quickest solution to get accurate results first time. This article provides a step-by-step guide providing everything that Metallurgists, Material Scientists and Lab Technicians need to prepare Ti alloys.

You will learn:

  • How to get consistent results with titanium alloys
  • How to select the correct grinding surface for preparing titanium alloys
  • What additives can you used to prepare titanium alloys
  • And helpful tips from our Applications Specialist Matt Caudwell, including preparing commercially pure titanium.

Are you looking for consistency when preparing titanium?

Our Applications Specialist recommends using semi-automatic and fully automatic preparation methods to ensure reproducible and excellent results on titanium and titanium alloys including Ti 6/4.

How to automatically prepare Titanium alloys?

Xmatic is Struers brand new automatic end-to-end grinding and polishing equipment. There is no need to change the polishing media, clean or change the grinding / polishing surface. You simply load your specimens and go!

The Xmatic has eight specimen holders, which you can preload with up to twelve specimens per holder (96 specimens in total can be preloaded) and once a programme has been selected, automatic grinding and polishing will commence. The programmes can be designed ready for your preparation needs.

The Xmatic is perfect for customers that prepare numerous specimens per day or are looking for a complete automated solution. The below video shows Matt Caudwell loading the titanium sample on the machine. You can see that there is no need to interact with the machine at any point while it prepares your samples. This provides you and your team with time to focus on other activities. 

Watch full video of the Xmatic preparing titanium alloy on Struers YouTube Channel.

How to prepare a titanium specimen with semi-automatic equipment?

Tegramin is Struers flagship semi-automatic grinding and polishing equipment. Using Struers Titanium three step semi-automatic method you only need to change the grinding / polishing surface three times to get a specimen polished and ready to view on your microscope.

With the Tegramin you can have up to eight specimens in a specimen holder - the equipment will provide excellent reproducibility results on all specimens. A Lavamin , Struers automatic cleaning equipment will speed up your methods as it ensures no residue of OP-S can be seen on the surface of the specimen, this saves valuable time for any laboratory technician.

The Tegramin is the perfect solution for customers that need a consistent preparation result regardless of the material. The Tegramin is perfect for preparing titanium in laboratories with a lower throughput than organisations requiring an Xmatic solution.

Titanium and titanium alloys

Tegramin microstructures

This image shows the microstructure after the MD-Mezzo grinding surface is used. Step one in Struers three step titanium preparation method.
Titanium and titanium alloys

This image shows the microstructure after the MD-Largo fine grinding surface is used. Step two in Struers three step titanium preparation method.
Titanium and titanium alloys
This final micrograph of Ti 6/4 shown at the top of this article is the third and last step after the Oxide Polishing step, using the MD-Chem surface.


Matt Caudwell recommends using an optical etching method for most titanium alloys, as it removes the need for harsh chemicals. This method is ideal for close packed hexagon-structured materials such as titanium. Once the surface has been oxide polished, you can view the microstructure for analysis under polarised light

Whether you use a Tegramin or an Xmatic, once you collect the finished sample, depending on the required result, you can see enough grain structure for analysis using polarised light.

How to automatically prepare a titanium specimen?

To see our new video on preparing a titanium sample on the Tegramin click here

To see our new Xmatic video click here

What grinding and polishing surface do you need?

Whether you are using the semi-automatic or full automatic equipment, the Struers three step titanium method applies and the same consumables are required:

Struers three step method needs only three MD surfaces:
  1. MD- Mezzo
  2. MD-Largo
  3. MD-Chem

Each of the above surfaces replaces up to 200 SiC papers. Matt Caudwell stated, “The MD Surfaces is proven to do all the hard work for you! You no longer need to keep changing SiC papers or stand over the machine to move it on to the next step. The MD diamond grinding surfaces are very hard-wearing, I have yet to wear one out!"

Are you looking for more detail on the preparation methods for titanium, titanium alloys and/or commercially pure titanium? Read our free Applications Note 
Grain analysis method using polarized light, removes the need for chemical etching simply use an oxide polishing solution with 30% concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution mixed 10-30% with OPS (this is optional, depending on the results you need).

Microstructure of Xmatic finished sample

Titanium and titanium alloys

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